Select a Topic
- What is Male Genital Development?
- Diagnosing Male Genital Development
- What Causes Male Genital Development?
- Help for Male Genital Development
What is Male Genital Development?
During puberty, a male’s sexual organs develop into mechanisms and structures capable of reproduction. Development of the male external genitalia-- the penis, testes and scrotum-- depends upon dihydrotestosterone, which is produced by the testes.
Puberty is initiated by hormone signals from the brain to the gonads - which in men are the testes. In response, the gonads produce a variety of hormones that stimulate the growth, function, or transformation of brain, bones, muscle, skin, breasts, and reproductive organs.
In boys, testicular enlargement is the first physical manifestation of puberty. Testicular size continues to increase throughout puberty, reaching maximal adult size about 6 years later.
The testes have two primary functions: to produce hormones and to produce sperm. The Cells of Leydig produce testosterone which in turn produces most of the changes of male sexual maturation and maintains libido or sex drive. Most of the increasing bulk of testicular tissue is spermatogenic tissue to produce sperm and fertility in males.
Within months after the growth of the testes begins, rising testosterone levels promote growth of the penis and scrotum. The penis continues to grow until about 18 years of age, reaching an average stretched adult size of about 13 cm.
Although erections and orgasm occur in prepubescent boys, they become much more common during puberty, accompanied by a markedly increased libido. Ejaculation becomes possible early in puberty. Prior to this, boys may experience dry orgasms. Emission of seminal fluid may occur due to masturbation or spontaneously during sleep.
Diagnosing Male Genital Development
Less serious disorders of the male genitals can be caused by poor hygiene and bad health practices. Smoking for instance exposes the body to many cancer-causing chemicals that affect more than just the lungs.
More serious male genital conditions can include:
- Genital warts
- Un-descended testes
- Erectile dysfunction - inability to achieve or maintain an erection
- Priapism - a painful erection that does not go away
- Peyronie's disease - bending of the penis during an erection due to a hard lump called a plaque
- Balanitis - inflammation of the skin covering the head of the penis, most often in men and boys who have not been circumcised
- Phimosis - a condition in which the foreskin of the penis is so tight that it cannot be pulled back (retracted) to reveal the head of the penis.
- Penile cancer - a rare form of cancer, highly curable when caught early
What Causes Male Genital Development?
Both genetic and hormonal factors contribute to male genital development. If the fetus is genetically predisposed or if hormonal production from the testes is compromised during gestation, or during puberty, genital development disorders can occur.
Help for Male Genital Development
There is a lot that can be done naturally to support male sexual development and healthy male sexual genitals. A healthy diet (preferably from childhood, through to adolescence) and adequate exercise and sleep, all contribute to the necessary hormone production from the brain to trigger puberty and adequate male genital development and libido.